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<<back forward>> -- News and information about meteor showers, solar flares, auroras, and near-Earth asteroids
Current conditions
Solar wind
speed: 420.6 km/sec
density: 6.0 protons/cm3
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2245 UT
X-ray Solar Flares
6-hr max: A3
2145 UT Aug31
24-hr: B1
1520 UT Aug31
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at: 2245 UT
Daily Sun: 31 Aug 07
A new sunspot (denoted by '?') is emerging while sunspot 969 has suddenly started to grow. Both regions merit watching. Credit: SOHO/MDI
Sunspot number: 15
What is the sunspot number?
Updated 30 Aug 2007
Far side of the Sun:
This holographic image reveals no sunspots on the far side of the sun. Image credit: SOHO/MDI
Planetary K-index
Now: Kp= 3 quiet
24-hr max: Kp= 3
explanation | more data
Current Auroral Oval:
Switch to: Europe, USA, New Zealand, Antarctica
Updated: 2007 Aug 31 2131 UT
Interplanetary Mag. Field
Btotal: 4.5 nT
Bz: 0.4 nT north
explanation | more data
Updated: Today at 2246 UT
Coronal Holes:
A solar wind stream flowing from the indicated coronal hole should reach Earth on Aug. 31st or Sept. 1st. Credit: STEREO-B Extreme Ultraviolet Imager
NOAA Forecasts
Updated at: 2007 Aug 31 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
01 %
01 %
01 %
01 %
Geomagnetic Storms:
Probabilities for significant disturbances in Earth's magnetic field are given for three activity levels: active, minor storm, severe storm
Updated at: 2007 Aug 31 2203 UTC
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
35 %
25 %
15 %
10 %
10 %
05 %
High latitudes
0-24 hr
24-48 hr
40 %
25 %
20 %
15 %
15 %
10 %
What's up in Space
August 31, 2007
Where's Saturn? Is that a UFO--or the ISS? What's the name of that star? Get the answers from mySKY--a fun new astronomy helper from Meade.

METEOR UPDATE: "One of my meteor cameras was pointing northeast this morning and captured an Aurigid meteor," reports astrophotographer John Chumack of Dayton, Ohio: image, movie. This early activity may bode well for Saturday morning's predicted display, detailed below. "We will soon see if this ancient comet debris trail ends up providing us a nice meteor shower."

WEEKEND METEORS: This weekend, Earth will orbit through a stream of dusty, rocky debris shed by ancient Comet Kiess. What will happen? Some forecasters expect a colorful meteor shower over western North America around 4:30 am PDT on Saturday, Sept. 1st. This is how Earth will look at the time of the peak:

Darkness favors observers west of the Rocky Mountains. If you're in the zone of visibility, start watching around 3:30 am PDT and keep watching until dawn. Many dozens of meteors could come streaming out of the constellation Auriga: sky map.

On the other hand, the Aurigid shower could be a dud. Comet Kiess' debris trail is so old (~two thousand years) it might be empty, resulting in few or no meteors at all. Consider your sky watch a journey into the unknown!

Researcher Peter Jenniskens of the SETI Institute hopes many people will observe and take pictures. He offers this example of a meteor he caught in March 2007 using a Nikon D50 (ISO 1600, 30s). "We would like people to use similar digital cameras to take pictures of the Aurigids," he says. " We can use the red, green and blue parts to study some aspects of fragmentation. We also want to know what was the brightest Aurigid observed." [photo tips and submissions]

MOON GAMES: "We couldn't see Tuesday's lunar eclipse from Europe, so my girlfriend Sabine and our children decided to play some Moon games on the beach," says photographer Laurent Laveder of Bretagne, France. He snapped this picture using his Canon 30D at ISO 800:

Click here for more photos

"It was a nice opportunity for a quick lunar soccer match and for Sabine to sit down comfortably reading a book beneath the electric Moon." Just one piece of advice for the kids: Don't drop that ball. It weighs about 150,000 billion billion pounds (7x1022 kg).

Lunar Eclipse Photo Gallery
[Night-sky Cameras] [Interactive Eclipse Map]

Near-Earth Asteroids
Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are space rocks larger than approximately 100m that can come closer to Earth than 0.05 AU. None of the known PHAs is on a collision course with our planet, although astronomers are finding new ones all the time.
On August 31, 2007 there were 880 potentially hazardous asteroids.
July 2007 Earth-asteroid encounters:
Miss Distance
2007 FV42
July 2
53 LD
1.2 km
2007 MB4
July 4
7.6 LD
130 m
2007 DT103
July 29
9.3 LD
550 m
Notes: LD means "Lunar Distance." 1 LD = 384,401 km, the distance between Earth and the Moon. 1 LD also equals 0.00256 AU. MAG is the visual magnitude of the asteroid on the date of closest approach.
Essential Links
NOAA Space Environment Center
  The official U.S. government bureau for real-time monitoring of solar and geophysical events, research in solar-terrestrial physics, and forecasting solar and geophysical disturbances.
Atmospheric Optics
  The first place to look for information about sundogs, pillars, rainbows and related phenomena.
Solar and Heliospheric Observatory
  Realtime and archival images of the Sun from SOHO.
Daily Sunspot Summaries
  From the NOAA Space Environment Center
Current Solar Images
  from the National Solar Data Analysis Center
  more links...
©2007, -- This site is penned daily by Dr. Tony Phillips.
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